The Alfred State football team sent a large homecoming crowd home happy with a 55-41 victory over Apprentice on Saturday. The Pioneers rushed for 445 yards including a new school record 335 yards from Rasheed Williams (Swedesboro, NJ) in the programs first victory in the NCAA DIII era.
The Pioneers got on the board on their first possession when Greg Hampton (Uniondale) connected on a 28-yard pass play with Devin Simmons (Elmira Free). Apprentice answered back less than two minutes later on a five yard run by Johnathan Whelan.
Hampton and Simmons connected again two and half minutes later on a six-yard passing play but Whelan found Derek Banks on a 19-yard passing play just under four minutes later to tie it at 14-14 just over 10 minutes into the game.
Alfred was driving to take the lead back but Apprentice forced a fumble and Marlon Lane scooped it up and went 92-yards the other way to give the Builders their first lead.
41 seconds into the 2nd quarter, Hampton connected with Khris Greggs (Rochester/Aquinas) on a crossing pattern that resulted in a 62-yard score. Three minutes later, Whelan dove in from one yard out to make it 28-21.
After falling behind 28-21, the Pioneers scored the games next 27 points to take a lead they would never give up.
Williams scored his first of three touchdowns from eight yards out with 8:39 remaining to tie it up. Hampton dove in from one-yard out to give the Pioneers a 35-28 halftime lead.
Williams accounted for both scores in the 3rd quarter with Barry Sanders like runs. He scored from 27-yards out with 9:07 remaining and scored from 41-yards out with 23 seconds left.
Whelan connected with Chase Donahue on a 34-yard passing play with 11:50 remaining to cut it to a two possession game but the Builders could never get any closer.
Greggs scored on a one-yard sweep play with 7:12 remaining to make it 55-34 and Whelan threw his third touchdown pass with 4:39 remaining to Travis Turbin (19-yards) to cap the scoring.
Williams carried the ball 36 times for 335 yards. The 335 yards rushing breaks the previous record of 292 yards held by Nabil Ra'Qib El-Amin (9/2/2006). The 36 attempts is second most and the three scores ties him for the best performance in school history.
Hampton finished 10 for 19 for 179 yards and three scores. He also rushed for 78 yards and a score on eight carries. Greggs led the receiving corp with 77 yards on two catches.
Whelan finished 18 for 46 for 342 yards. Donahue caught nine passes for 204 yards while Banks had 69 yards receiving.
Keegan Phalen (East Aurora) had a monster game to lead the defense. He recorded 10 tackles, intercepted two passes, and blocked a punt. John Garbowski (Lakeland) chipped in nine tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception.
Brock Bullock led the Builders with 15 tackles while Tequan Mayfield and Ishia Roundtree each had 13 tackles.
Key to the Pioneers scoring chances in the 1st quarter were two big kickoff returns by Ismail El-Amin (Rochester/Wilson). He finished the day with 157 yards on four returns including returns of 51 and 68 yards.
The contest featured 96 points, 1,087 yards, 54 first downs, 22 penalties, and seven turnovers.
Alfred State heads to Media, PA next Saturday for a 1 p.m. battle with the Mechanics.